According to the U.S. Code Title 50, "War and National Defense," the term weapon of mass destruction
means "any weapon or device that is intended, or has the capability, to cause death or serious bodily injury to a significant number of people through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals or their precursors; a disease organism; radiation or radioactivity." Eighty-two contributors have amassed an impressive amount of historical and current information pertaining to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in these volumes. Volume 1 covers "Chemical and Biological Weapons," and volume 2 covers "Nuclear Weapons." Each volume has its own bibliography, but the index in each volume is cumulative. Illustrations are good, though limited in number.
More than 500 alphabetically arranged and signed articles cover all aspects of WMD from definitions of terms such as Kiloton, Novichok, and payload to such topics as Korean War, National Strategic Target List, and Pugwash Conferences. The articles are well written for general adult readers. Of particular interest are the excerpts from various treaties that discuss WMD or related destructive activities. Volume 1 is extremely detailed in describing all of the chemical and biological substances that could be part of WMD and what the consequences would be if each substance were used.
No other reference source covers such a wide array of topics related to WMD. It will dispel many myths but will also draw attention to the lethal consequences of WMD. In today's world climate of unrest and terrorism, this is a highly recommended resource that will be of great interest to public and academic libraries. H. Robert Malinowski
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• The only comprehensive reference of policies, events, places, technical terms, and historical context regarding weapons of mass destruction
• Volumes organized by like weapons so each can be used independently to study the topic or weapon of particular interest
• Alphabetical listings and combined indexing in each volume provide an increased ability to browse and quick access to specific entries
• Over 500 A–Z entries written by 95 international experts, organized in two volumes divided by types of weapons
• Timeline that covers leading political, military, and weapons-specific events since 1945
• Excerpts from key international documents
• Combined index (with volume numbers noted) at the end of each volume
• Includes numerous illustrations and photographs
"The overall quality of this encyclopedia makes it a useful addition to WMD resource collections. Recommended. General readers; undergraduates."
"High school, academic, and military libraries will find this attractively designed and superbly indexed set a major purchase that will likely get repeated use."
American Reference Books Annual
"Weapons of Mass Destruction is a valuable resource that will fill a gap in most academic and public library reference collections."
Reference & User Services Quarterly